Women's History Month - Elizabeth Blackwell

The first woman to receive a medical degree in the US.

Queen Ranavalona III of Madagascar

The last Ruler of Madagascar.

She's Crafty - Microscopic Edition!

Some really cool science inspired crafts!

Happy Birthday - Septima Poinsette Clark

The "Queen Mother" or "Grandmother of the American Civil Rights Movement."

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Music Break - Megan Washington

I can't tell if this is a break-up song, or a morning-after song, or what. Regardless, I like it. It feels honest and a little vulnerable.

The song is really catchy. It reminds me a lot of those moody songs I'd listen to as a teenager in the 1980s. And the video is perfect. It captures the ache of loss and regret.


Though you saw it coming it was not your fault
Oh, in the morning gave you what you want
No, you couldn't hold in your lowered head
Oh, you shoulda told me this was limitless
There's a certain kind of lonely
Where you sleep in your jeans
And I know that kind
You can tell me that you know me
When you know what that means
And that you don't mind
Special kind of dreaming
When you sleep with the television on
And with the lights on
And with your clothes on
And with your shoes on
Though you saw it coming it was not your fault
Oh, in the morning gave you want you want
No, you couldn't hold it in your lowered head
Oh, you shoulda told me this was limitless
There's a certain sort of lonely
Where you sleep in your jeans
And I know that sort
You can tell me that you know me
When you know what that means
And it's what you want
Special sort of dreaming
When you sleep with the television on
And with the lights on
And with your clothes on
And with your shoes on
Will you please remember to mention me
To the ones who loved you
Do you feel the sinking, sinking feeling
When I'm thinking of you
Though you saw it coming it was not your fault
Oh, in the morning gave you what you want
Oh, it was as if I'd been a gift to you
Oh, it was as if because I wanted to
Though you saw it coming it was not your fault
Oh, in the morning gave you what you want
Oh, I didn't mean to fall into this mess
Oh, you shoulda told me this was limitless
Won't you please remember to mention me
To the ones who loved you
Do you feel the sinking, sinking feeling
When I'm thinking of you
Won't you please remember to mention me
To the ones who loved you
Do you feel a sinking, sinking feeling
When I'm thinking of you
Ooh, oooh
Ooh, oooh

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Kickstart This!

Here's your weekly list of fantastic crowd-funding projects that need some attention!

I love how Samurai Bike Messengers combines a brave young team and cycling!
The Samurai Bike Messengers story centers around the adventures of female heroine Mona-Star, a determined young bike messenger who together with her team, must save New York City. An invasion by the villainous Guzzle Thugs, ordered to eliminate all cycling and walking, challenges Mona to become a team leader and pushes her into new unknown challenges.

Here's a game for all you fans of Animal Crossing, The Sims and Farmville. You know who you are.
Pumpkin-Online is a farming/dating sim MMORPG, wildly different than any other out there. Instead of level grinding with battle and combat, Pumpkin-Online is a relaxed game. You can role-play a profession, craft items, customize your own private farm, go on quests, have fun with NPCs, and more, all with friends!

I just love this project. There are so many great stories that need to be told and Adwoa Gyimah-Brempong is working to make sure they are.
Walk In My Shoes is a six-week digital storytelling workshop for immigrant and refugee teenage girls at Oakland International High School. With this project, I will be supporting girls as they invite readers to walk in their shoes: see through their eyes, hear the soundtrack of their lives, and follow the path of their journey.

The project will offer girls practical training in self-definition and the crafting of rich stories, increase their proficiency with media and digital technologies, help them to interrupt immigrant stereotypes that restrict their life paths to doctors or domestic workers with no middle ground, foster cross-cultural connections, and bolster confidence.

Know what I hate about crowd-funding? The wait for products that I want RIGHT NOW. Like this.
In Jelly God, you become the only hope for an otherwise grey and barren world. Breathe life into this new plane by cultivating a tribe of jelly people (jellies), and developing the emerging landscape. Expand your village of jellies by collecting resources, building homes, unlocking new colours, and discovering new ways to combine items.

While I've never been to CONvergence, I have been to PAX. And I know the amazingness that comes from getting a bunch of geeks all together. As my friend Cat say, "It's like Christmas for grown-ups." Kate Norlander's project, Geek Culture, wants to share that awesomeness with everyone.
CONvergence is an annual sci-fi and fantasy convention in Minnesota run entirely by volunteers. It draws thousands of people each year. In 2013, I attended CONvergence along with photographer Emmerlee Sherman and her assistant, Russ Gamache. We gathered stories and photos throughout the four-day convention. Geek Culture is the result of our efforts.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Quote of the Day

"One of the most courageous things you can do is identify yourself, know who you are, what you believe in and where you want to go." Sheila Murray Bethel.

I've been thinking about this concept of self-knowledge quite a bit lately. As I get older, I find I am more comfortable with myself. Things about myself that used to make me worry about how other people might judge me don't really seem all that important anymore. Things that I would like to change about myself are part of the work-in-progress that I am. I don't carry around nearly as much shame as I used to. Although there are still pockets of it here and there in my psyche. And when I encounter it, I try to remind myself that I am still worthy of love, and that those feelings are just signs marking a construction zone that call for extra care.

I know what I believe in. I tend to trust my gut more, and really listen to it when it tells me something doesn't jive with my beliefs. I still second-guess my actions sometimes, but not nearly as often, and usually when I'm pushing the edge of my own comfort level, but when I step back and look at it through the lens of my beliefs, I'm usually right. And when I'm not, I apologize sincerely, and chalk it up to a learning experience (that I actually do learn from).

I can't say I know where I want to go specifically, but I have a pretty clear idea of what it looks like there, and what direction will get me closer. And I am always moving that direction.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

She's Crafty - Back to School

It's Back to School time! And to celebrate, here's a collection of awesome crafty items with a school theme!

Back to School time means Autumn is nearly here! What a great way to celebrate both with a Lambswool Pencil Scarf! Actually Sara Carr's shop has lots of really lovely and fun scarves!

Feeling little bite-y about having to go back to school? Or, maybe awesome? Well, here's the perfect pencil case either way! This Shark Pencil Case is both bite-y and awesome! Heck, I'm not even taking classes this year, and I want one!

I found these adorable little Best Friends Charms in La Petite Artist's BlueBumbershoot shop. What a cute idea for a back-to-school themed bracelet or earrings!

What's more perfect than settling into a night of reading (for homework, of course!) with a super comfy blanket? Like this Composition Notebook Coverlet by Snuffykin. Super easy to make, and will certainly keep you inspired to jot down some notes, right?

And while you're snuggled up and reading, wouldn't you love to have a cup of tea this cute Notebook Paper Mug? In fact Sikiu Miller-Perez has a great collection of notebook paper themed ceramic items in her MangoTreeCeramics shop.

These Mathematics Earrings are perfect for anyone who loves math and language! That's two of the 'Three Rs' right there! Louise Annable's shop, Bookity, can be found on both sides of the Atlantic: Folksy and Etsy.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Weekend Reading

Welcome to the weekend! Here's a collection of longer reads for your pleasure!

I'd always wondered what the link was between women working and feminism. I assumed that most early feminists had been teachers mainly because that was one of the few occupations open to educated women. Rebecca Traister has a great interview with Dana Goldstein, author of The Teacher Wars.
"[Almost as soon as teaching was feminized] new opportunities opened up for women, which in turn had an impact on the teaching profession. A great example of this is Belva Lockwood, who starts teaching at the age of 14 in an upstate New York one-room schoolhouse. She’s hit by the feminist bug [in the mid 19th century] and within a matter of years she’s become an attorney, lobbying to become the first woman to argue before the Supreme Court, and eventually she runs for president ... two times! But a lot of her feminism is driven by her anger that she’s getting paid less than male teachers."

A recent study by Jong-Eun Roselyn Lee shows the importance of race in online gaming, and in particular MMOs.You can read the original article in Discovery: Skin Color Still Matters in Video Games, but you should also read the great write-up by Victoria McNally at The Mary Sue: New Study On Virtual Avatar Skin Color Demonstrates Why Diversity Matters
But this study is still interesting because it speaks to a wider discussion about race and diversity in gaming. It’s easy for players in the majority to dismiss calls for more customizable skin tones and features (“games based on European cultures wouldn’t have darker people anyway,” they often say, forgetting that these games also have elves and oh yeah are fictional), but for people who actually look like that in real life, it can be yet another jarring reminder that they are not considered part of the target audience for these games.

As explained in this interview by Alison Flood in The Guardian, Margaret Atwood has been named as the first contributor to a fascinating public artwork project. I'm more than a little sad I probably won't be around to read her piece.
The Future Library project, conceived by the award-winning young Scottish artist Katie Paterson, began, quietly, this summer, with the planting of a forest of 1,000 trees in Nordmarka, just outside Oslo. It will slowly unfold over the next century. Every year until 2114, one writer will be invited to contribute a new text to the collection, and in 2114, the trees will be cut down to provide the paper for the texts to be printed – and, finally, read.

"It is the kind of thing you either immediately say yes or no to. You don't think about it for very long," said Atwood, speaking from Copenhagen. "I think it goes right back to that phase of our childhood when we used to bury little things in the backyard, hoping that someone would dig them up, long in the future, and say, 'How interesting, this rusty old piece of tin, this little sack of marbles is. I wonder who put it there?'"

Gabby at GirlsinCapes.com has a great interview with Olivia A. Cole, a poet, author, and vocal activist, discussing her new book Panther in the Hive which features a black female protagonist trying to survive in the post-apocalyptic land that was once Chicago.
A lot of my research for Panther in the Hive occurred before I started writing the book—and even before the idea of the book was conceived. My undergraduate degree focused heavily on social issues (racism, sexism, gentrification, healthcare, corporations, etc.) so when it came to writing the book, a lot of that information found its way into the pages on its own. It was a natural process.

Jenny Diski has written a piece in The London Review of Books about the process of being a writer discovering that she has inoperable cancer. (h/t: Longreads)
We’d hardly got home before I said: ‘Well, I suppose I’m going to write a cancer diary.’ The only other thing I might have said was: ‘Well, I’m not going to write a cancer diary.’ Right there: a choice? I’m a writer, have been since I was small, and have earned my living at it for thirty years. I write fiction and non-fiction, but it’s almost always personal. I start with me, and often enough end with me. I’ve never been apologetic about that, or had a sense that my writing is ‘confessional’. What else am I going to write about but how I know and don’t know the world? I may not make things up in fiction, or tell the truth in non-fiction, but documentary or invented, it’s always been me at the centre of the will to put descriptions out into the world. I lie like all writers but I use my truths as I know them in order to do so.

In years past, we've witnessed a lot (A LOT) of terrible examples of football marketing for women. But Jessica Luther has a piece in Vice Sports about how Charlie Strong's UT Women's Football Camp Gets it Right
For all that, one could still argue that splitting women off into their own camps is sexist because it starts from an assumption that women can't just attend a football 101 clinic or a fantasy football camp (in fact, women cannot attend the 2-day Texas Longhorns Fantasy Camp). To those people, I say, you're right. But at the same time, after celebrating UT football with a bunch of other female fans and then doing hours of rigorous and flat-out physical exercises that were new or unfamiliar for many of us, it was nice to have a space to share football with other women and do so without having to deal with men who assume we don't know or like football. Or even worse, men who would use the camp as an opportunity to perform their masculinity for UT football coaches and players.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Follow Friday

Here's your weekly list of great pages and folks that you should be following!

The National Women's History Museum is one of my favorite Facebook pages. Always so many great stories of kick ass women! You can also find them on Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.
Katie Mack is one of those feminist scientist types I just love. Besides sharing all kinds of great astrology and other science info, she's also dropping truth bombs like the one above. You can find her on Twitter, FacebookGoogle+, and her blog.

You may already be familiar with Rebecca Watson (aka Skepchick). I love watching her YouTube vlogs breaking down important science concepts as well as covering other geeky pursuits! You can also find her on Twitter, Google+, and on her own blog.

Tumblr is full of garbage, but there is also a whole world of awesome. One of my faves is WomanistGamerGirl. Such a great mix of pop culture, womanist commentary, geeky fun, and more. You can also find her on Twitter.

I have been following Brown Girl Collective for ages. I love their daily posts on Facebook covering awesome women and highlighting awesome stories about women and girls of color. Their Pinterest page, though, is a fantastic way to spend a couple of hours. They can also be found on Twitter and Google+.

New Moon Girls has a great Google+ page that deserves more love. They're always great for info and inspiration for people who love girls! You can also find them on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, and their web page.

Feel free to leave your links in the comments!